Cross Country Plans For Championship Season


Isabel Alley

Junior Baylor Wolfe passes through the mile mark during the 5k.

Isabel Alley and Avery Hutchins

After placing second in state last year, Creek cross country is hungry for this year’s title.

The varsity team came out of the gates strong and placed first in every division in the opening home invitational on Aug. 27.

The girls started off the season on a strong foot, and after placing fifth in the nation last year, head coach Ethan Dusto has high hopes for his team this season. 

“Our goal is to be a top three team at State,” Dusto said. 

The girls’ team is attempting to continue their success, as well as improving their placement this season. They have proved that they will continue to keep up their reputation after the name they created for themselves in previous years. In order to protect their reputation as one of the top programs in the nation, there is a lot of work that needs to be put in before they can achieve their goal.

“Cross country is a sport about trying to get better every single day,” Dusto said.

The program continues to improve with every meet. Losing the talent of Riley Stewart last year, Dusto is hoping that the girls’ team can rally back to state this year with some fresh talent and exceed expectations. They continue to focus on personal and collaborative growth, so this goal will be reachable. 

“’I’m trying to help my athletes learn how to be better people that learn how to use sports and athletics to push themselves,” Dusto said. 

The runners use Dusto’s motivation to maintain a positive mindset during practice and meets. The team implements his advice during their run, while also learning to rely on their own skills and their ability to succeed.

“My main goal is to stop doubting myself midway through a race,” sophomore Caroline Laughlin said. 

She is one of many on the team motivated for a state championship win. As the girls’ team continues to improve with every meet, the boys’ team is more concerned about qualifying for state. Dusto gives his runners motivation through incentivizing them to put forth their best effort on their road to state.

“Dusto said he would take all of us [to state] who qualify,” junior Daniel Hruska said. 

Coach Dusto is willing to bring every runner who is eligible to run at state this year, rather than the top three from each race. Dusto is hoping that this extra push will encourage the team to band together and make a run for the championship.

Dusto helps his team, both boys and girls, break through and improve. He continues to teach his runners lessons that extend past the boundaries of cross country, in order to grab the state title.

“I think if we can get our acts together, we have a shot,” Hruska said.